1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
This week we read about one of the great and precious promises that we have as followers of Jesus. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 we are told that we do not have to be ignorant or uninformed about what happens to believers when they die. What Paul tells us is meant to be a comfort to us in our sorrow and grief over those we love who have died. What we read is meant to be a source of hope in our sorrow. Paul would say it this way “that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” It does not say that we do not sorrow or miss those who have died and gone to be with the Lord. What we are told is that in our sorrow and in our grief we have hope.
The first things that Paul wants us to know is that those who have died and believe that Jesus died and rose again are currently with the Lord. In John 14:1-3, Jesus told us that He is going to the Father to prepare a place for us and that He will come again that where He is we may be also. Paul reminds us that those who have put their faith in Christ are currently at home in heaven with Jesus.
Then Paul speaks to us about what we call “the blessed hope.” That there the generation of believers who are alive on earth when Jesus returns for the church will not die but will be caught up into the clouds with the Lord! That phrase caught up is where we get the english word rapture. A day coming when Jesus comes back and calls all of the believers on earth to come up to heaven to be with Him and with those who have died and are currently with the Lord!
This hope ultimately is meant to be a great source of comfort to our hearts. Maybe today your heart is filled with sorrow about those you love who have gone to heaven ahead of you. I know I have shed many tears over the loss that has has come in my life. It is in those moments of grief and sorrow that I often turn to this passage and read these words. When I do I am reminded of the great hope that I have even in the midst of my sorrow. I am reminded of the absolute promise that my loved ones are with Jesus and that one day soon Jesus will come for His church and we will have a glorious family reunion in heaven. I pray that the words of Paul will be a comfort to your heart as well.